I first learnt of the mockingbird when I read the book “To kill a mockingbird”. Atticus said, it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. I never quite understood the thought back then. Years later, the idea intrigued me. The idea of the mockingbird and why it was a sin to kill one. Symbolism always fascinated me and this was no different. Today it inspires me to weave a poetic prose around the bird. In a symbolism that I identify with.

The mockingbird

I want to speak of the many mockingbirds that live in the reality of the modern world. The mockingbird of today’s times. The mockingbirds that let their innocence be challenged by the indifference that dominates the universe that we live in. Someone rightly said, it takes a lot of courage to have a soft heart in a cruel world. It takes a lot of strength to be a mockingbird in a world of bluejays.

The mockingbird. Housed in the heart of the city. Yet. Protected. Shielded. Oblivious to the mystery of the world around it, it led an uncomplicated life.

However that was never enough. The bird yearned for more. Freedom. Wings. Flight.  True, an inconsequential existence devoid of freedom never satisfies a dreamer.

Suffocated by it’s nested existence, it sang in desperation

My wings of fire.
I yearn to fly round the world.
To revel in colours of freedom.
This cage; it suffocates me.
I wish to be free.
I long to take flight.

The mockingbird wanted to create a world of its own. A nest that fit in to it’s idea of an ideal one. Then one day, eyes laden with dreams, it set out on an adventure to explore the unknown. An adventure that promised a beautiful future. The cage was broken. Finally. A nest left barren. Love left behind. The ambitious bird, however, had no heart to notice them. No pain, no gain; it consoled itself. The heart was silenced. The mind took centre stage.

Wings set on fire. The bird took flight. A proud moment, it muttered under its breath. I have come of my own. Independent and free. That’s how I wanted to be always, reinforced the mind a thousand times over. I will carve my own destiny. And the world will sit up and notice.

But why do I feel a pain deep down my heart? Is there something that I fail to notice? Why do I feel that something has been left behind; something has been lost; forever? My heart, you play games with me. You shall not speak, commanded it to the aching heart.

It flew around the world in faraway lands singing tunes a many. The bird had its heart set on glory. Lauded far and wide for it’s extraordinary talent, the mockingbird concluded that the sky was the limit. In company of nightingales, cuckoos and bluejays, the bird had found a place. Or so it thought. Little did it know, what went in the minds of those that lauded it’s accomplishments. Jealousy was a mere word.  Selfless love was what the bird practiced and yearned for. Many promised it that. Under the veil of friendship. Some kept the promise. Some didn’t. 

Months became years. And years many. With it’s share of setbacks and failures, the bird had found an identity its very own. No, the world was not kind. The bluejays had spelt trouble time and again. But the bird had survived. There were wounds that hurt for years. There were scars that never healed. But the bird lived. The walls had been built. The cage was long gone. The bird chose tall walls instead. Being naive in a selfish world hadn’t done it any good. Those walls were protection. They were to stay forever. Only if someone had the courage or the perseverance to break them, the bird would let them in. A select few have managed. Love did find it’s way back!

Isn’t this a feeling that resonates with many of us? To leave a nest only to build a cage for ourselves; sounds funny. But true. Circumstances and people challenge our very identity time and again. How we deal with them and what we become at the end of it is often a personal choice. To emerge stronger or not is a choice.